Four in 10 US Adults Own Game Console; More Women Play Wii

July 1, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Videogames | Women

Nearly four in 10 (37%) of US adults own a game console, and 10% plan on purchasing a new console in the next 12 months, according to (pdf) data released by Nielsen Online.


At the same time, a separate study from The NPD Group found that the number of women who play console games has increased, from 23% Console Gamers in 2008 to 28% in 2009. This increase is primarily because of the popularity of the Nintendo Wii, which increased in usage by 19 percentage points over 2008.

Game Console Brands Online

Nielsen data revealed that – in addition to the growing penetration of the consoles themselves – game console brands were popular online destinations in May. Among game console brands, the Nintendo web brand had the largest unique audience for the month, with 2.2 million, while Sony Computers Entertainment was the fastest growing, increasing 16% year-over-year.

Wii Tops Among Online Adults

Among the current game consoles on the market, Nintendo Wii was the #1 console owned by online adults, with 14.3% . However, Playstation 2 – despite being an older console – continues as the top console game owned, with 17.3 % of online adults in possession of one.

Blog Mentions of Consoles

Nielsen also measured blog mentions related to video game consoles around the June 2 Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. The analysis found that blog activity around the top-three consoles more than doubled on the first day of E3, as compared with a week prior.


E3 News Re-Energizes Gamer Discussion

Nielsen noted that significant announcements by the major gaming companies appeared to
Re-energize gamer online discussion, and reported that buzz during this year’s conference was 30% higher than the comparable time period for E3 2008.

Microsoft’s Project Natal, a new controller-free motion-sensing device, generated more buzz than any other single announcement. Other news that generated substantial online interest: Nintendo’s announcement of two new Wii games for their Mario franchise and Sony’s plans for a new motion sensing controller and new titles for PS3.

Console-Gaming Women on Rise

Separate but gaming-related research from The NPD group found that female gamers are on the rise in 2009 compared to 2008, significantly among Console Gamers.

In addition to the jump in female Console Camers, there also was a four percentage point rise in females among both Heavy Portable and Extreme Gamers, NPD said in a report, which provides a detailed analysis into a range of gamer segments.

NPD also reported that Extreme Gamers (4% of total gamers), play an average of 39 hours per week, 10 hours more than the next highest segment in terms of hours played, Avid PC Gamers. Extreme Gamers purchased an average of 24 titles throughout Q408, more than six times the number of games compared with any other segment.

Online vs. Offline Games

In terms of online game play, NPD said that 38% percent of gamers’ time was spent playing a game online, with the rest being played offline. These numbers are flat when compared with the previous year.

On average, 16% of games purchased in Q4 2008 were downloaded digitally, but the average number of gamers willing to pay for all types of micro-transactions decreased over last year. This could be caused by the increased availability of free gaming, putting a downward price pressure on the industry,” NPD noted.

About the NPD research: The NPD data was collected from more than 20,000 members of NPD’s online consumer panel, ages 2-65+. Responses for consumers ages 2- 12 were captured by instructing a parent to take his or her child in this age range to the computer to answer the questions, either with or without the parent’s assistance. Qualified respondents reported they personally play video games on a PC, on a console or portable system, or on another device such as a mobile phone. Final survey data was weighted to represent the US population of individuals ages two and older. Fieldwork was conducted from January 7 – January 27, 2009.

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